Guides: Cactus - Succulents
Native to southern Europe and western Asia, Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks or Houseleek) is a mat-forming succulent, that produces irresistible, evergreen rosettes of thick, fleshy leaves. Cute but tough, their beauty resides largely in their infinite variations. They are available in a wide range of colors, from light to dark green to brown, pink and purple, either at the tips of the leaves or throughout the whole plant. The leaves may be pointed or rounded, glossy or matte, with a waxy bloom or with downy hairs. Their foliage colors vary with the sun exposure, the seasons and the climate.
Native to Mexico and Central America, Echeverias are regarded by many as one of the most beautiful succulents. Evergreen, they form attractive rosettes of fleshy leaves and often resemble plum-petaled roses, waterlilies or ruffled lettuce. There are dozens of species, and hundreds of cultivars offering a wide array of colors, sizes or leaf shapes.
Native to the southern United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and northern South America, Agaves are evergreen succulents with handsome rosettes of usually thick, rigid, fleshy leaves with marginal teeth and often a sharp terminal spine. They exist in a wide range of sizes, colors and offer an amazing array of leaf shapes.
Mostly native to the Canary Islands off the west coast of North Africa, Aeoniums are fascinating evergreen succulents with irresistible rosettes of fleshy, pinwheel leaves. Attractive when not blooming, they are particularly striking with their bright racemes of small, star-shaped flowers.
Native to sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, and Arabia, Aloes are evergreen succulents with usually spiny leaves arranged in neat rosettes, and spectacular, candle-like inflorescences bearing clusters of brilliant yellow, orange or red, tubular flowers. They exist in a wide range of sizes, colors and offer an amazing array of leaf shapes.
There is a wide range of perennial plants that will bring out the best qualities of your succulents and share their space with a serene balance.
If you limit yourself to the succulent palette, there is a high probability your garden will look heavy and rigid since lacking the movement ornamental grasses provide.
Find a list of pretty shrubs that share most of the growing requirements of cacti and succulents. They will bring out the best in both the succulents and their world.
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